Fitbit, which manufactures fitness tracker wristbands, is allegedly leaving a mark on the wearable technology industry it probably wishes it could erase.
Several people have complained that the Fitbit Force tracker, which tracks distance, steps, stairs climbed, calories burned and sleep, allegedly is leaving a rash on their wrists. The Consumerist website detailed one wearer's complaints last week (complete with photos of the rash), and ABC News and Digital First Media have since published similar complaints from wearers. Although news of the rashes is fairly recent, one complaint was posted last July.
The rash on the wearer detailed by The Consumerist was diagnosed as contact dermatitis, a condition in which the skin becomes red or inflamed by an irritant or an allergen. The Fitbit Force contains nickel, which Fitbit says is in the stainless steel used in the device and may be the allergen causing the rashes, according to reports. Fitbit is offering to refund the $130 device as well as replace it with a different Fitbit product. (More questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.) But that might not be enough for some wearers who say they have incurred bills for medical treatments and fear the rashes may permanently scar them.
"We are sorry that even a few consumers have experienced these problems and assure you that we are looking at ways to modify the product so that anyone can wear the Fitbit Force comfortably," Fitbit said in a statement published by The Huffington Post. "We will continue to update our customers with the latest information."
Fitbit declined to say how many incidents have been reported.
This is certainly not good news, especially after fitness technology scored high marks at the recent International CES show in Las Vegas. According to one report, 250 million fitness gadgets will be shipped in the next five years. This rash of incidents needs to be addressed quickly to continue that momentum.